Sunday, April 22, 2012

The American Dream?

Yes, I was really MIA this Spring and now, I can finally come clean with what has been a grand adventure. I just finished purchasing my own very first home last week and what an experience. For over 2 months, I looked, made offers, had places not pass inspections, had offers rejected, was outbid and finally, struggled to finance a little townhouse of my own. (Guess what? Banks don't really like self-employed artists. Who knew?) In fact, I mostly stopped even talking about any of this for fear I'd jinx another effort when that the first place I "fell in love with" fell through....

But enough of the hard stuff, here's a little peek of what will eventually evolve into my new art studio (with a little space for living, I suppose....ha ha!) Yes, it's true though--I judged every place I looked at by what I could do in which spaces to get back to a more urban, self contained bit of art loft living such as I've had as a renter in more places around the US than I care to think about right now. The irony is that I am in my little town of origin--not Chicago or L.A. or Anchorage or Seattle. Nope, just a little town in Northern Illinois....I wanted an art studio I could live in....not really a house to do a bit of art in. For me, there is a difference!

my own side (or main?) entrance and yes, a little deck too.
But what an unusual place I found! It's an old armory built in 1916 that was turned into 10 townhouses in 2003. The exterior is intact, very much like it was when still an armory while I was growing up around here. Inside, there are really only a couple of small vestiges of this original purpose--a whitewashed but still visible bit of "army graffiti" in the basement, and an old riveted steel beam in one bedroom.

open floor plan, wooden floors, white walls....
I don't include photos of one of the big selling points, for me--700 square feet of basement space with 12' ceilings AND a couple of nice sized windows--the perfect "dirty studio!" And as you can see, the main and the upper levels will become, in time, a jumble of gallery space for displaying the good stuff, and work space to make new stuff-white walls and light. Heaven! Oh yeah, and I can cook and relax too. I can't wait to see what the cats and Dakota think about all this as they have all only lived in an old farm house. I'm trying to think about ways I can make this user friendly for them, too.

interior view of side entrance
I will be able to walk or bicycle for many of my errands, which will be fun, and best of all, I will not have to worry about mowing grass, shoveling sidewalks or driveways, about roofs or gutters or any of that outdoor stuff that I find can be such a struggle. I still must mind the farm, so never fear, I will not become detached from nature in my new townie life-style. But if I can just continue this huge project of simplifying my life, I will be back in the studio, full time, within the year, after another summer in the camper, in the campground, naturally.

just a little bit of the old building peeks through in a bedroom
upstairs, 2nd floor, are skylights and more white walls
And speaking of the campground--yes, it will open for the season soon and yes, my little camper there is all set up, just waiting for some stuff for living (art materials, food, clothes) to get moved in for the coming weekend. Yes, it's been crazy busy around here since the New Year as I try to "do it all." Ha! Right now, I'm trying to repaint the bathroom floors out there, in time to be usable for next weekend. There's a men's and a women's bathhouse and the enameled concrete floors were pretty banged up....

But for the moment, I enjoy these "new house" photos because I know that my new studio will never look this clean and spare and open again, once I move in and art the place up. But that's what I got it for, so.......here goes!

I'm sorry about my long silence and I'll try to check in a bit more, as no doubt, the adventure will continue with all the fun stuff of moving and all (I'm too tired to think about that right now!) I look around at all my stuff, and vow to "cut it in half." Luckily, I've got a list of worthy causes and have figured out a way to sell on Craig's List without any visitors/shoppers in my home...Plus Dad's stuff is being all divided up between the 5 of us, so eventually, I'll make more progress on my vow to simplify....

Thanks so much for stopping by and say - If you need a special Mother's Day gift? I have made quite a bit of new work, somehow, in spite of my distractions. I'm slowing posting a few new pieces in my shop every day or two, so if you're inclined, do pop over and take a look!!

13 comments:

Grace said...

Congratulations - may you have many happy and creative times in your new home!

WillOaks Studio said...

Thank you Grace! What a difference a year can make!

Rose said...

Your new space looks great! Best of luck with your transition. I look forward to hearing about the camp ground this summer.

WillOaks Studio said...

Thank you, Rose! Just getting things moved over there is good enough until after summer winds down.

Lin said...

HOORAY!! Oh boy! I'm so glad you finally found a place--and it is so COOL too! Love all the nooks and crannies, the skylights and all that space.... :) Can't wait to see you all settled in.

I'm really hoping to come out camping this summer. It's on my To Do list....definitely!

WillOaks Studio said...

Thanks Lin! That campground is almost open & things look great out there this year!!! Can't wait 'til you & your family visit-
Our site www.Willoakscampground.com

Anna said...

Congratulations Karen!
It looks wonderful! I hope you will thrive in your new living space.

Best wishes & hugs,
Anna

Nancy said...

Wow, congrats! That's awesome!!

WillOaks Studio said...

Thank you Anna! Right now I wish I was 2-3 people--just too much to do...

WillOaks Studio said...

Thank you Nancy!!

JanetDavies said...

What a fabulous home you've found! I love living in a place with a little history and I'm sure you'll love living your art in this lovely space. Warmest wishes to you and yours in your new home.

WillOaks Studio said...

Thank you Janet! I really like the solid, old shell here & the nice streamlined interior! By my estimates, this place was built when our town was around 60 yrs old or so.

Split Rock Ranch said...

Congratulations! How exciting for you to be getting into such great new "digs". I love the wood flooring and all the light, bright, open interior!

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